Assess the Usefulness of Different Sociological Approaches to the Study of Suicide Essay

1047 WordsMar 10, 20145 Pages
Assess the usefulness of different sociological approaches to the study of suicide Approaches to the study of suicide in sociology are divided roughly into two different types. There are positivists approaches suggested by sociologists such as Durkheim and interpretivists such as those suggested by Atkinson and Douglas. This essay intends to consider the usefulness of these two opposite approaches to the study of this topic. Durkheim was one of the earliest sociologists to study suicide; he suggested that suicide was not just an individual act that it was influenced by wider social issues. As a positivist, Durkheim took a scientific approach to studying suicide and used official statistics to study the topic and considered these to be social facts. Durkheim notes correlations between suicide rates, such as single people committee suicide more often that married people and suicide consistently was more common in protestant countries compared to catholic countries. Durkheim believed that the suicide rate in a country was influenced by two factors; social integration (how well people felt like they belonged to their society) and social regulation (how much their society controlled them). Too much or too little of one of these increased suicide rates in a country and these suicides could be classified into four types. This included, Too much integration increased altruistic suicides because people were over committed to their society they would commit suicide for it, for example, suicide bombers. In contrast , societies with little integration had egoistic suicide as people did not feel like part of something’ Durkheim suggested that this was why suicide was more common in protestant countries as they have few shared rituals compared to catholic ones so feel less integrated. Fatalistic suicide occurs in countries where behaviour is too controlled, like a prison this
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